Contest: Win A Pair Of Tickets To The 9/21 Those Darlins Show & Their Night Jogger 7″!!!

Update: Contest is CLOSED!  Congrats to Gretchen for snagging up the Those Darlins prize pack courtesy of Oh Wow Dang Records!  Have fun at the show!!!


I have a pair of tickets to the upcoming Those Darlins show at the Beachland Tavern on 9/21 for one lucky winner.  I will also toss in freshly pressed copy of the their recently released Night Jogger 7″ as well.  See below for how to win…

Those Darlins are back at it again.  The trio of fine, fun ladies and drummer Lynn are back on the road looking for a good time nightly in various cities across the good ol’ USA.  Recently the band dropped a split 7″ featuring a new Those Darlins track on one side and a Funstix track on the other.  This is just a small taste of their new album which is scheduled to drop in early 2011.

Head over to the Those Darlins revamped web page for a listen at both tracks and even score yourself a free download of “Night Jogger” for a limited time.

Better yet demand that all of your friends head up to the Beachland Tavern with you on 9/21 to check out these country/punk darlings and Turbo Fruit.  It is going to be a good time and your help is needed to bring the party.  If you do not, you are missing out.  How do I know?  Because I have been there, done that, and would not mind doing it all over again – in fact I will be there (please hold your comments).  Their shows are not to be missed so just get your butt up there ok?

So how do you win?

All you have to do is comment below and make sure you enter a valid email address.  One winner will be chosen randomly to win a pair of tickets to the 9/21 Cleveland show and a 7″ of Night Jogger.

This is for the Cleveland, Ohio show only so I need to keep this contest local.  This contest was made possible buy the amazing folk at Oh Wow Dang Records.  I will pick a winner on this Saturday Monday evening, so hurry up and throw down a comment!!!

Tour Dates (in case you were wondering…):

SEPTEMBER:
9/10 – Atlanta, GA – The Earl #
9/11 – Asheville, NC – The Grey Eagle #
9/12 – Myrtle Beach, SC – Island Bar
9/14 – Chapel Hill, NC – Local 506 #
9/15 – Washington DC – Black Cat #
9/16 – New York City – Bowery Ballroom #
9/17 – Cambridge, MA – T.T. the Bear’s #
9/18 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl #
9/19 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie (early show) #
9/19 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie (late show) #
9/21 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Tavern $
9/22 – Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall $
9/23 – Pygmalion Festival – Champaign-Urbana
9/24 – Iowa City, IA – The Mill $
9/25 – Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon $
9/26 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue @ 7th St. Entry $
9/28 – Omaha, NE – Slowdown $
9/29 – Lincoln, NE – Lincoln Calling
9/30 – Kansas City, KS – The Record Bar $

OCTOBER:
10/2 – Louisville, KY – Headliners Music Hall
10/7 – Dallas, TX – Sons of Hermann Hall %
10/8 – Austin City Limits Festival
10/8 – ACL After Party @ Emo’s +
10/9 – Laredo, TX – Old No. 2

# W/The Strange Boys & Gentleman Jesse and His Men
$ W/Turbo Fruits
% W/The Soft Pack
+ w/The Black Lips

Fake Problems – Real Ghosts Caught On Tape – Album Review

There was a time and place when I liked the band Fake Problems because they sounded like some other band out there that I enjoyed that will remain unmentioned.  The similarities between them and this certain Gainsville, Fla. act I speak of were clear but never to be considered a rip off, at least to my ears.  I soon learned of their hard working antics, their harsh stories while touring and most of all their passion for what they love to do.

I recall the first Fake Problems release as being an enjoyable punk/folk sing-a-long jam while the follow-up showed a clear change in their style.  Now dropping Real Ghosts Caught On Tape,their third full length release, Fake Problems really have evolved from a one time punk rock sounding band into a fine-sounding rock n roll outfit that impresses me on a few different levels.

Still kicking it with Side One Dummy Records, the Naples, Fla. foursome is back with all new material bordering on more of an indie-rock feel without letting go of their roots.  There is this major fun change though that is heard throughout making me think that Fake Problems has pointed their style in a different direction almost hinting back to the 60’s.   Real Ghosts contains 11 toe tapping songs that will easily compliment any good day you are having.

The opening “ADT” won me over immediately.  I loved the drum playing, the white-collar rock n roll strums and of course the, dare I say, heartfelt lyrics.  It was easily the catchiest song on the track.  Following was “5678”, a more dance-causing, Electric Six sounding, jam worthy of multiple listens.  Again, another catchy track especially with the “everybody’s clapping along” chorus.

It’s not all about the fun though on the album, just listen to the lyrics on “Songs For Teenagers”, a beautifully done tune but with a saddened message about letdowns, suicide contemplation and drug use.  “Soulless” on the other hand was fun-major, if that makes sense, with tons of energy slapped into the 60’s-ish, girl doo-whopping track Phil Spector would even enjoy (I have the feeling I am not the only one who has said that but oh well…).

Real Ghosts is well written from start to finish and if anything, the band has proved on how they have matured as musicians.  With hints towards So.Cal. indie-rock and sandy beach jams they have not forgeotten where they came from.  Real Ghosts is a whole more fun and a lot more mainstream friendly than their priors, but don’t be too quick to throw that “sellout” label at them.

In a sense sellouts happen because it there is a certain element that grabs attention – it happens all the time if you think about it (i.e. Gaslight Anthem, Flogging Molly, 1/2 the bands on the Warped Tour).  Sure, sometimes bands throw in a huge twist to earn more green in their wallets but this is not the case with Fake Problems.  They are a fun and hardworking act that dropped a great, fun album aimed at anyone out there who is looking for a upbeat and catchy album to listen to.

Let’s Talk About Weezer…

September 14th is right around the corner and if you are a Weezer fan like I am you know that it is the day that Hurley will be released on Epitaph Records.  This will be the band’s first release on an independent label in their 17 years as a band.  Focusing on the rock over the pop this round the album has grabbed my attention in a major way.  See for yourself – head over to www.myspace.com/weezer and listen to Hurley in its entirety.  You can also download their first single entitled “Memories” courtesy of Spinner.com.

The album title, if you have not figured it out yet, comes from one of the more memorable characters from one of the greatest TV series of my time, Lost, and might just be my favorite Weezer cover ever.  Have you even seen the cover for Hurley yet?

Yeah, that is great.  Jorge Garcia spoke to MTV recently on how he felt about being the inspiration for the latest release.  As much as I despise MTV I did get a kick out of reading his reaction on his mug being on an album cover.

Here is a video from Spin.com with what looks like a very happy Rivers Cuomo:

Swingin’ Utters / The Menzingers / The Facials – Rockstar – Cleveland, OH – 08/27/2010 – Concert Review

Friday night the punk rockers took over Rockstar in Cleveland.  The small, and I mean small, venue that which lies on top of Peabody’s, hosted an intimate night of punk rock goodness with help from The Swingin’ Utters and The Menzingers as well as a couple of local acts including The Facials.  Regardless of size fans of all of the bands filled up the joint and were treated to an evening of fast, fun, and furious music.

The Facials

Openers SmyD (oh, NOW I get it…) were local and sounded just like Against Me!.  It was not a bad thing at all until I noticed that the lead singer had matching…Against Me! tattoos on his shoulder blades.  Still not a terrible thing, but enough to cause a momentary distraction to more than one onlooker.  Trying ever so hard to ignore the dual permanent tributes myself, I was able to enjoy their set even if there was a little too much talk and not so much rock going on from the lead singer.  Still, I would check them out again.  I took this opportunity to enjoy a nice tall refreshing PBR with my friends.

The Facials, another local act and good friend to BHP, hit up the stage next minus one.  Even though one of the band members could not make it to the show the band played on and did not sound that bad even if the back-up guitarist had three practices to learn all the bass lines.  Kudos to the vest wearing bandanna sporting musician for switching up duties.   Fans crept around the corner stage throughout the set and enjoyed their performance.  I took this opportunity to enjoy another nice cold tall refreshing PBR with my friends.  Do you see a trend here?  Well that was the extent of it, after all I did have to drive home.  I am responsible.

The Menzingers
The Menzingers

One of my favorite punk rock bands that I discovered this year, The Menzingers, finally were able to play a show for me.  After all the was the reason they came to Cleveland, for me (not really).  You see, earlier this year the band was supposed to play a show in Covington, KY but one of the band members succumbed to a nasty stomach virus and they had to make the difficult decision of canceling the show.  I was highly bummed out that I was unable to see them live but understood.  This time though all of the band members were in house at Rockstar and took to the stage for a very high energy and fun set.

Jumping around and having a good ol’ time the band played through a bunch of familiar songs including “I Was Born”, “Rivalries” (one of my faves), and “No We Didn’t” off their latest release Chamberlain Waits.  Their live stuff was move enjoyable to me than their studio material.  The boys just were so entertaining and the crowd was so into them screaming along to every song.  Music, friends, smiles, and singing – this is what a punk rock show is all about.

The Menzingers

I was thrilled to finally be up at the front of the stage watching this amazing band do their thing.  If that was not good enough, the band chatted with me throughout the night about everything from the Kentucky incident to the local punk house the Soggy Dog.  Greg and Tom were cool as hell and I can not wait till I run into them again.  I know, I sound like a freaking fanboy right now but in all honesty it is nice to meet a band that is happy to be in their surroundings and has no problem climbing the stripper pole with you.  If you have no idea what I am talking about, check out Rockstar next time you are in Cleveland.  Just don’t get too rowdy or else a mustache-clad bouncer might yell “settle down” at you and walk away… very effective I might mention.

Aside from that calamity there was in fact another performance by punk rock legends the Swingin’ Utters.  Even though I have been a fan of the Utters since I was a kid this was the first time I had ever seen them live and I could not be happier.  A little older and a lot wiser, the band took to the stage and put forth a killer set with lead singer Johnny Bonnel looking like he was feeling real good.  I say this not just because we were in a bar but also because in the middle of the set he screamed “piss break” and stumbled off the stage into the crowd and made a b-line for the men’s room.  It was hilarious.

Wost Pic Ever...
Wost Pic Ever...

Breaking into tracks like “Five Lessons”, “Windspitting Punk”, and one of my favorites “The Next In Live” the 20+ year old band sounded much better than I was anticipating.  It was amusing to see Spike Slawson up on stage too as I mostly know him for his cover act Me First and the GImme GImmes.  I should comment too that he looked like she shed some pounds since the last time I saw him.  Sporting thick rimmed glasses and what looked like an army issued jacket Spike looked calm and reserved throughout the set. He was perhaps the only one who maintained composure of some sort as the rest of the band, and the crowd for that matter, jumped and thrashed about while flinging beers and fists in the air.  Oh yes, it was a punk rock show for sure.

There was no encore for the night by the Utters.  They finished their set and exited the stage to an adoring crowd of longtime hardcore fans.  That was about the time I exited the Rockstar to get some air.  Looking around everyone had that look of satisfaction on their faces, you know, the one where you just witnessed something really really good.  Not sure when the Utters will make a trip back to Cleveland but I did get a kick out of a Tweet one of the band members posted later in the evening:

I don’t really understand why people make fun of Cleveland. I think Cleveland is kinda awesome. Romantic, even.

Cleveland is kinda awesome.  Romantic?  Perhaps.  Being with great friends and some amazing bands however was just perfect and I would not have wanted to spend my Friday night any other way.

Coheed & Cambria / Porcupine Tree / The Dear Hunter – Nautica Pavilion – Cleveland, OH – 08/26/2010 – Concert Review

Last Thursday evening progressive sci-fi rockers Coheed & Cambria headlined a triple bill with help from The Dear Hunter and UK’s Porcupine Tree.  The triple bill landed on a comfortable cool evening at the Nautica Pavilion, a perfect night to take in a show.  The venue sadly was not packed at all as ticket sales suffered but all who did show up that evening enjoyed three levels of prog-rock any aged fan could appreciate.

A fine mix of Coheed and Porcupine Tree fans gathered around the stage to give the night’s openers The Dear Hunter a chance.  The alt-prog act from Boston, Massachusetts took to the stage while the sun slowly crept away to open up the night.  Upon their first couple songs much of the crowd did not seem to pay attention but soon were sucked in to what sounded like a Mars Volta meets Queensryche.  Their set seemingly became more impressive through the lengthy songs to the point where people started turning their heads to the music.  Not being too familiar with their material I was impressed with what i heard.

UK’s Porcupine Tree took to a freshly vacuumed stage – yes, someone vacuumed the stage prior to them taking it – just after 9pm.  Older fans of the band, that started as just a concept in 1987, gathered around the stage and focused all of their attention to the band and the visuals being show on the backdrop.  Opening with “Ocean’s Razor” it was clear that I had never heard of them before.  I for some reason thought they were a newer act but was just a little bit wrong as I soon discovered they have been around for a little bit.

At one moment lead singer Steven Wilson asked everyone in the house if they sounded ok due to the position of the stage.  He then commented that everyone was treated to two shows – them and the Cleveland skyline.  Comically declaring “that’s one big reverb” got more than one laugh from the crowd but also hinted to the soundboard that they were not happy with their sound.

The videos that played behind Porcupine Tree was full of random clips and psychedelic light shows that periodically would sync up with the music.  At times I would almost fall into a musically fueled trance watching the screen trying to figure out what was going to happen next.  The prog-rock was almost a prog-jam during certain moments of their set was a lot more progressive than I anticipated but delivered a killer set.  I know I was not the only one impressed and I am pretty sure a lot of the younger Coheed fans went home later that night to check them out a little more.

The band thanked the fans for their support, thanked Coheed for their invitation, and then announced that it was the last night of their tour and that they would be retuning home.  For a band that has not really been plastered all over the radio it was refreshing to see an act 23 years in the making take the stage and play their hearts out showing no indication that they will be slowing down anytime soon.  I will be checking these guys out a lot more now that I saw them.

Porcupine Tree Setlist:
Ocean’s Razor
The Blind House
Great Expectations
Kneel & Disconnect
Drawing The Line
Open Car
Russia On Ice
Anesthetize
Trains
Blackest Eyes
The Start Of Something Beautiful
Way Out Of Here
Sleep Together

The headliners of the night, also known as Coheed & Cambira, took to the stage and opened with “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3”. Claudio Sanchez and crew tore up the stage with their sci-fi prog rock goodness to all of their adoring fans, well, those who decided to show up. The pit was sparse and the bleachers were not filled that all. It was almost depressing to see the turn out of the evening as many of the older fans who came to see Porcupine Tree headed out after their set.

Coheed did not let that bother them at all playing through with “The Suffering”, a song I sang along to as loud as possible. Continuing with selections from their latest release Year Of The Black Rainbow the band rocked out to “Year Of The Juggernaut” and the acoustic “Pearl Of The Stars” with Claudio whispering to the adoring crowd.  Starting strong the band had a couple of lulls in between songs but kept the momentum going with “Delirium Trigger” and closed out with the always amazing “No World For Tomorrow”.   With fans screaming for more the band took the stage for a couple more songs ending the night with one of my favorites “Wake Up” where the entire place sang along with lighters in the air.

Having seen Coheed many times in my time including last year at Bonnaroo I could not say this was the best show that I have seen by them but was far from terrible.  The fans sang along with practically every song but at times when Caludio turned the vocal duties over to the crowd it almost became difficult to hear them due to lack of a bigger fan base supporting guest duties.  I would have loved to seen more people fill up the venue that evening but at the same time was perfectly contempt with the almost seemingly intimate set.

The term “you get what you pay for” came to mind after the show’s end.  Three amazing bands took to the stage that night with long sets giving all who attended their money’s worth.  I do wish that some of the Porcupine Tree fans stayed a little longer to check out Coheed before calling it a night.  I am pretty sure they would have enjoyed what that amazing band had to offer.

Coheed & Cambria Setlist:
In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3
Ten Speed (of God’s Blood And Burial)
Here We Are Juggernaut
The Crowing
The Suffering
Pearl Of The Stars
Everything Evil
When Skeletons Live
The Willing Well 1: Fuel For The Feeding End
Delirium Trigger
No World For Tomorrow
Encore:
Wake Up
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